More than 1,600 students in six British Columbia schools soon will have access to healthier water, thanks to an accelerated investment in student health and safety from the Government of B.C.
“Kids should be able to get a drink of clean, healthy water from water fountains at school. Now students at these schools will be able to do that,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “My goal is to have every student in B.C. attend a healthy and safe school, and this is another step toward achieving that goal. We know we have more work to do, and that is why we are accelerating capital investments throughout B.C.”
These projects are being funded through the School Enhancement Program for a total of $750,000. This is in addition to the $6.5 million invested in school districts since last year to reduce lead levels in water. These six new projects have been accelerated and are scheduled to be complete by March 31, 2018.
The schools receiving upgrades are:
- the Children’s Development Centre in Saanich
- École des Sept-sommets in Rossland
- École Sundance Elementary in Victoria
- Lake City Secondary school – Columneetza Campus in Williams Lake
- Mountview Elementary school in Williams Lake
- Naghtaneqed Elementary/Junior Secondary school in Nemiah Valley.
The Province is funding these upgrades because recent testing found elevated levels of lead in water sources at several schools in the province. Currently, schools with unsafe lead content in their drinking water are routinely flushing the pipes or shutting down the affected systems to ensure student safety. The provincial health officer has said there is no evidence of children having been adversely affected by lead in drinking water in B.C.
Government is committed to working with school districts to accelerate work to ensure crucial maintenance, like plumbing upgrades, take place provincewide as soon as possible.
School districts can continue to address their maintenance needs through the Annual Facility Grant, totalling $110 million each year. School districts may also access funds for addressing further repair and maintenance issues, such as lead content in drinking water, through the ministry’s School Enhancement Program.